How To Fit A Mountain Bike?
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A mountain bike that fits well is the one that is right for your height, flexibility, and riding style. A proper mountain bike can maximize your handling and confidence on the trail to help you perform more technically on challenging rides.
Currently, many types of mountain bikes are manufactured to serve many different purposes. This post will focus mainly on proper mountain bike fit for the two most popular classes, All Mountain & Enduro Mountain Bike and Cross-country (XC) Mountain Bike.
Before learning how mountain bikes fit, why don’t you check the list of Mountain Bikes Under $500. For people who want to buy high-end models with professional components, here you are: Top 15 Best Mountain Bikes Under 3000 Dollars.
Proper Enduro Mountain Bike Fit
Enduro mountain bike is designed for downhill or freeride use. This type of bike needs to descend with high stability along with good maneuverability to keep the cycle within your control limits. For peak cycling performance, a proper Enduro mountain bike fit is of the utmost importance.
You can visit the top 12 best enduro mountain bikes for further purchases.
Step 1: Adjust the fore and aft.
Enduro riders prefer a further back cleat because it provides more balance and stability to the pedals. The calf muscle will not take a lot of pressure while keeping the foot and ankle stable.
The glutes and hamstrings are better recruited, making it better for sustained efforts longer and maintain a solid position when descending.
Step 2: Adjust the lateral and torsional.
- First, you put on your bike shoes, use a marker to mark the big bony joint at the base of your big toe.
- Then line it up and make another mark on either side to form a visual indication for where the foot’s ball is.
- You adjust the direction of the cleat in the order of the indicated line, depending on your personal preference. A toward cleat to the big toe allows disengagement quickly. Rotating the cleat toward the small toe creates more movement before disengaging.
Enduro mountain bike saddle adjustment is a must for all cyclists. The saddle height has a direct impact on the leverage of the foot pedal movement. The saddle height is too low, and the rider has no momentum. If the seat position is too high, the rider will be confused.
Adjust the seat tube length to where one of your feet flat is almost vertical at the lowest point of your pedaling. Also, the recommended 25°-30° angle will suffice for beginners.
The front and rear position of the saddle affects where you sit near the handlebars. This position involves your balance and the degree to which your legs are bent during the pedal stroke.
A standard method used to locate the saddle and rear is to knee over the position of the pedals. You will also need a friend or help to observe and measure your foot position. Here are the steps:
Step 1: First, you sit on the bike with your thighs parallel to the ground (at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions). You can place your bike on a fixed stand, or you can have an upright holder.
Step 2: Using a lanyard with the weight on the bottom, place the string below your transitional knee and see where the lines are relative to the pedal. The balance chain tilts the bike’s axle hanging from your knees.
Step 3: If it’s facing forward, adjust the saddleback. If the seat tilt is slightly back, adjust the saddle forward. Always make adjustments one step at a time.
Some enduro riders who want to maintain power while mountain riding often choose a longer crank length to optimize energy and speed. This will more or less affect your saddle position.
Since the Enduro ride is more aggressive, brakes have to deliver the goods stopping power, take the heat of descents, or sustained braking. Therefore, a brake lever set up in the perfect position for one-finger braking is essential.
Step 1: Determine the position of the levers.
When adjusting the levers’ position on the handlebars, you need to be careful to avoid the brakes being too close or too far away. The perfect place for optimal leverage is that your fingers can reach the outer end of the brake lever so that the lower arm and fingers form a straight line.
Step 2: Adjust the brake lever angle.
The nature of the enduro bike is that it often overcomes slopes and downhills, the lever’s angle increases to be flatter. It prevents leaning forward too much over the bars.
When mountain biking, you put a lot of weight directly onto the heel of your hands rather than on your thumb, which you would typically use on the steeper descents. It reduces the strain and gets you away from the arm pump, which you get on the longer runs.
Step 3: Adjust the reach.
Make sure your first finger joints are on the lever, so your brake is always within reach. You will have more mechanical advantage.
Step 4: Adjust the bite point.
For the enduro bike, adjust the levers quite inboard to feel quite close to the bar, so that’s the bike point of the lever itself.
When you are riding long descents, it is quite strenuous on your forearms and your hand. When the brake lever is nearer to the bar, it creates a stronger position for your hand to be.
Adjusting the handlebar position will give your back a more comfortable angle and a more natural feel to look towards while cycling.
Step 1: You fix your bike firmly on the ground, then loosen the clamp bolt on the back of the handlebar body.
Step 2: Remove the top cover of the handlebar body. Slide the handlebars out of the duct
Step 3: Decide what height you want to increase or decrease for the handlebars or remove appropriately sized spacers.
Step 4: Take a test ride and check the new handlebar position. If the spacer isn’t enough to get the effect you want, you can flip the stem over to change the height of the bar.
The width of the mountain bike handlebar tends to be longer. A wilder handlebar will give you more leverage and control when hitting unexpected rough terrain with the front wheel.
Consider your arm-span and shoulder-width when choosing the mountain bike handlebar width so that your arms are not stretched out and do not have heavy pressure on your palm.
Visit this article for more information: enduro-mtb.com/en/the-right-mtb-handlebar-rise/
Upper Body Reach
The top tube length represents the horizontal distance between the seat tube to the head tube. Determining the effective top tube is a way to help you get an idea of how long your bike will last while mountain biking.
The upper body reach is calculated from the center of the bottom bracket to the head tube center.
Choosing the right mountain bike frame size will affect your riding posture as well as the upper body’s ability to reach the handlebars while mountain biking. You can use the mountain bike sizing chart to get an idea of bike fitting then check with your bike.
A long stem will put you in a forward driving position, which puts pressure on the muscles and causes back pain over time.
You can adjust a proper upper body reach by adjusting the length of the stem. A suitable stem length will give your back an ideal curve, making your sitting posture more upright and your elbow slightly bent. The enduro stem is between 25mm and about 55mm in length.
Proper Cross-country (XC) Mountain Bike Fit
A cross country bike (XC) is a mountain bike more focused on climbing and gripping than other bikes. A proper cross-country (XC) mountain bike fit will give you comfort on the move while helping your activity reach its peak performance.
Beside the enduro mountain bike shopping list above, here is the top 12 best cross country mountain bike in 2021 for you.
It would be best if you had to pay attention to three things when adjusting cleats: fore and aft, lateral and torsional. According to your riding style and the type of mountain bikes you’re using, and your physiology, adjust the three axes accordingly.
Step 1: Adjust the fore and aft.
XC cyclists tend to prefer a forward clear position. Setting up a more forward cleat position produces a better peak generation in a short period suitable for standing sprinting performance. Not only that, the ability to accelerate quickly is more focused, creating a snappier pedal stroke.
Step 2: Adjust the lateral and torsional.
You then need to specify the alignment of your feet to adjust the lateral and torsional. These adjustments are significant because it is essential to make sure your pelvis, knees, and feet are in a straight line when cycling.
- A straightforward method that can help you determine the way your feet point naturally is to sit with your feet hanging on the edge of a chair.
- Once you select whether your foot is facing in or out, rotate the cleat’s tip towards to move your heel in or adjust the tilt away for moving the heel out.
For cross-country bike users, adjusting the saddle to match the height and body proportions helps the rider feel comfortable and free when cycling. The control of the vehicle is thus more active.
Once you have determined the correct frame size, it’s time to set up the proper seat height.
Step 1: First, you put your bike on the stationary and adjust one of your feet flat on the pedal along with the crank arms in the downwards position at 6 o’clock position.
Step 2: Use sticky dots in three places:
- The ankle joint on the bony lump outside of the ankle.
- The knee joint where the joint protrudes the most.
- The hip joint between the femur and the pelvis.
Step 3: You put the goniometer on the knee joint so that the center is in the correct position of the marked dot. Adjust the tool’s arms so that they line up with two markers at the hip and ankle.
Read your angle measurement based on your leg extended on the pedal. The ideal measuring angle between 25 and 30 degrees will help you achieve maximum comfort and strength.
Step 4: Finally, you adjust the seat tube length up and down until the ideal measuring angle is reached. Take a few tries and experiment to see how well your body adapts to the new seat height, and you will begin to feel a positive change in the performance.
To correct the brake levers, you need to pay attention to 3 factors: the position on the handlebars, the angle of the levers, and how to reach the lever.
Step 1: Adjust the lever position.
Adjust the brake lever position until the outside edge of your palm aligns with the outer edge of the handlebars. When you stretch your fingers, and your first joints can wrap the external hook of the levers. Make sure that your finger, your wrist, and the elbow are in line.
Step 2: Set up the lever angle.
Get into your riding position and put your finger on the lever. Adjust the angle of the brake so that arms, palm, and stretched finger form a descending straight line 45-degree angle to horizontal. This angle keeps your hands from getting tired during the long descents.
Step 3: Fit the lever reach and bite point.
Adjust the reach and bite point to improve barking performance and maximize control when riding mountain bikes. The perfect distance between the lever and the handlebars is that the first finger joint can fully wrap the edge of the lever.
The further away bite point will prevent pulling it all onto the bar to help get the full stopping power without squeezing your fingers first.
The lower handlebar position reduces the center of gravity. The traction increases by placing weight on the front wheel. In addition, the height of the lower bar provides a central position between the front and rear axles, which can improve mountain bike control, especially in technical conditions.
Cross country bikers enjoy speed competition for rough terrain. So adjusting the height of the handlebars will give the rider a more efficient riding position resulting in faster and more stable speeds.
You can adjust the handlebar position by adding or reducing the number of spacers of the appropriate size. Note, conduct a test ride, check the new handlebar’s height, and make adjustments if necessary.
After adjusting to the appropriate height, turn your handlebars to maximum rise to see the back sweep when looking down your bars. The goal is to get your hands fixed in a comfortable position and your elbows not to be pushed up when accelerating.
Upper Body Reach
Changing the stem length will create a more comfortable riding posture because they make the upper body suitable for the handlebars.
Adjusting a proper length stem to fit the top tube length will prevent the riders from being pulled forwards and flattens the back. Traction on the front wheel will significantly reduce, and the steering wheel is less stressed and easier to control.
The cyclist adjusts the stem length to move towards the mountain bike center to proper the upper body. This adjustment will create more back curvature and a more upright position when mountain biking.
Note that the elbows should be slightly bent when pedaling a straight line to reduce shock for the upper body.
Most cross-country bikes have a stem length between 70mm and 130mm, which is ideal.
Tools Needed for Proper Mountain Bike Fit
The following are the tools that you will need for a proper mountain bike fit:
- Hex wrench set
- Shock pump
- Torque wrench
- Measuring tape
- Electrical Tape